Until his retirement in 2015 Carroll William Westfall taught the history of architecture, most recently at the University of Notre Dame, which he joined in 1966. The author of three books and numerous articles concerning traditional and classical architecture and urbanism from antiquity to the present, he has a special interest in making knowledge of the history of architecture useful to architects and builders.
Individuals flourish when they contribute to the civil order that seeks a common good, and traditional and classical architecture is necessary to make an urbanism that serves such a civil order. It is, however, being undermined by an architectural profession that has no interest in the common good or its counterpart, the beautiful.
Traditional architecture uses imitation and invention to provide beauty as a complement to the general, public welfare, but the current history of architecture undermines that service.
President Trump set out an Executive Order that calls for a Commission to suggest guidelines for restoring the beauty of traditional classicism in new federal buildings. A nonpartisan issue, President Biden should execute it immediately.
Opinion On Executive Order for the Classical Style in Federal Buildings
Tradition has always guided both vernacular and classical buildings, but now, with architects avoiding drawing on tradition, the present-day vernacular of the builders no longer benefits from innovations within the classical and architects ignore the vernacular’s innovations, with both suffering.
Carroll William Westfall investigates new modern construction in a historic neighborhood.
Carroll William Westfall discusses the development of preservation and urbanism, illustrating the problem with labeling a building "of its time."
Urbanism is what we build to serve our needs and desires in families and neighborhoods and on up in scale to cities, states and nations. It is the grandest, most complicated, complex, and extensive thing we build, but we underestimate its role in our lives, and it is tradition that makes urbanism valuable for us.